I have decided after a long sabbatical from my Travel Blog to give it another try. Many people have asked, “Hey Gary, why no more tales of your many travels?” Apparently some people actually enjoyed seeing the many places I go in the world. You can see the BLOG has changed a bit from the old Where in the World is Gary blog to simply Kaelson Travels. A massive amount of work was done by my friend and computer wizard Chris Kresge of Convenient Integration. So let the journey begin.
November 1, 2014: I depart Dallas on a direct flight to Hong Kong. After a brief layover in Hong Kong at the airport First Class “The Wing” lounge I was refreshed for my next flight to Yangon, Myanmar. “The Wing” lounge has these awesome creations called Cabanas (see attached pictures) that you can use for an hour or as long as you want. It’s a private room with WIFI, huge soaking tub, rain shower, couch and all the facilities and amities you could imagine. You turn the lights down low, listen to the calming music in a perfectly quiet oasis from the outside world. Ahhhhhhhhhhh.
November 2, 2014: I finally arrive at the Sule Shangri-La Hotel at 2:00AM in Yangon the next day. It’s been about 24 hours since I departed Dallas and my body thinks it around noon. Now you go to your room and try to sleep. I suffer greatly from jet lag. It takes my body a few days to get its sleep cadence back to the local time zone. Thankfully I don’t do this world travel gig for a living like some people I know who have to hit the ground running after a transcontinental flight.
November 3, 2014: Day one. Wander the streets, take a nap, eat, wander some more, get a massage, try to sleep, be a zombie…… try to recover.
November 4, 2014: Feeling somewhat alive and human again I opt for a three hour ride on what is called “The Circle” train. (Strange that I am reading a fascinating book right now called The Circle written by Dave Eggers. More on the book later.) The local train ride makes a large loop through the city and gives you real insights into the lives of the local people. As luck would have it, the 10:30AM train I chose to take was the only air-conditioned one. I know I missed out on a lot of the local flavor by not riding the other open air trains with hard wood benches, people and chickens and crates of food all crammed on top of each other. Three hours of that would have been soooooooo much fun… NOT!!!!!
My air-conditioned car still provided a somewhat insulated view of about fifty train stations of varying shapes and sizes. The experience of seeing how “most” of the world lives never ceases to amaze and enlighten me about my own life. The thoughts and concerns of my daily life seem so insignificant in comparison to what I see on my travels. This is why I come to Asia: the lessons learned in simple observation and awareness of just how difficult life could be. The enormous amount of kindness and respect from these people living in utter poverty is overwhelming, hundreds of thousands of people living in cramped, un-airconditioned living conditions with zero anticipation of a “better life.” Yet you notice that everyone you meet is happy, friendly, smiling and takes time to say hello to one other.
An interesting term here: BETTER LIFE. When you compare this to life in the United States, in a city like Dallas with its over abundance of wealth, opportunity, excess, waste, suicide, depression, unhappiness, divorce statistics, crime and gun violence… tell me exactly who has the BETTER LIFE? Who is happier? I say ship all of the complainers in the US to a neighborhood in northern Yangon and let them complain there. OK, I will stop my political rant before I lose you all.
Regarding the photos, I got to see people waiting for the train. Some on their cell phones, some with eggs and tied up chickens they bought at market, some headed to work in their neatly pressed and crispy uniforms, and some traveling with the whole family. After my train experience it was time for another massage, nap and dinner. Tomorrow I fly to Ngapali Beach on the coast for three nights of beach time.